Sunday, October 24

Netanyahu seeks an absolute majority for the right after mass vaccination against coronavirus | International

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a campaign rally in Jerusalem on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a campaign rally in Jerusalem on Monday.

Israelis vote on Tuesday for the fourth time in two years in another attempt to unblock a never-ending political crisis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to consolidate an absolute majority at all costs together with parties allied with the religious right. To guarantee re-election, he relies on the success of the massive vaccination campaign against covid-19 in Israel, which has already immunized more than half of the population, despite being prosecuted for corruption.

The full reactivation of the economy and the return to normality after a year of pandemic, while in Europe and the United States infections continue to multiply, is the great asset that Netanyahu wields at the polls. Among the more than nine million Israelis only 285 new cases of coronavirus infection were registered on Sunday, with a 1.7% positivity rate of tests detection carried out. More than 4.5 million citizens already have the “green pass” or vaccination certificate that offers a safe conduct to the daily life of yesteryear. Only the mandatory nature of masks and some capacity restrictions remind us that the health crisis has not yet been overcome.

The echoes of the massive demonstration last weekend to demand the resignation of Netanyahu fell silent on Monday in Jerusalem, at the end of a low-profile campaign, both from the majority and the opposition, which threatens to lead to high abstention. , according to the demographic analysts. The head of the government and head of the list of the conservative Likud party took a mass bath in a market in the Holy City. “We are only two seats away [para la mayoría absoluta de la derecha]”He harangued the public to vote for him, emulating the loud salesmen of the old Mahane Yehuda food galleries.

On the eve of the polls, the Conservative ruler also winked at the 450,000 settlers in the West Bank. He visited the Revava settlement, southwest of Nablus, at the beginning of the construction of new houses in the occupied Palestinian territory. Netanyahu has been ambiguous during the campaign about fulfilling his longstanding promise to annex a third of the West Bank to Israel: the Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley. On the one hand, the pact to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates, signed in September at the White House, obliges it to suspend the so-called “extension of sovereignty”. And on the other hand, the annexation represents a red line drawn by the current US president, Joe Biden, that Israel must not cross.

“These fourth elections in two years expose the State of Israel to a momentous crossroads. The historical party atomization has become a dichotomy in relation to the character of Netanyahu ”, highlights the political analyst Daniel Kupervaser on the personalist nature of the elections. “Its alliance with radical Jewish groups, together with the attempts to destroy the judicial system that they advocate, represents an unprecedented challenge,” he warns about the reform of the judiciary, characterized by its strict independence, that its supporters advocate.

In front of the 30 deputies assigned to the Likud by the latest polls published, the centrist Yes Atid (There is a Future) party, led by former television presenter Yair Lapid, leads the opposition front with 20 parliamentarians in the elections for a 120-seat Knesset (Parliament). While the first seems to be guaranteed the support of another 30 votes from ultra-Orthodox forces and the Jewish extreme right, the second must face the difficult effort of coordinating a dozen parties, some of which are located in the antipodes of the Chamber.

Difficulties for an alternative coalition

“The voting intention surveys they predict a tie between the two blocs – for and against the prime minister – which will probably be settled by small percentages of votes, ”Kupervaser points out. “Faced with the enormous difficulties anticipated to form an alternative government coalition, there are Israeli news media that already convey the feeling that victory will be for Netanyahu.”

In the midst of the uncertainty represented by the high percentage of undecided in the polls and the fear of a drop in participation due to the pandemic, the most predictable scenario after the legislative in Israel is that of the formation of a pure right-wing government . Between 2015 and 2019, Netanyahu led a coalition of ultra-religious and far-right parties that included a small centrist formation.

In an agreement that would be unprecedented since the birth of the Hebrew state, 73 years ago, he hopes today to join the support of the Jaredis and extremist Zionism, which includes Jewish supremacists. The radical right led by former minister Nefatli Bennett seems to have also opted in his favor by declaring that it will not agree with the center-left leader Lapid. The polls point to a technical tie in the legislative elections this Tuesday with the bloc, the heterogeneous opposition bloc.

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